Film Studies

MFA in Filmmaking


UNCW’s MFA in Filmmaking is an immersive three-year terminal degree program that prepares students to be complete filmmakers. MFA students learn to create and compose moving images for a variety of artistic, expressive, and commercial purposes.


Curriculum Overview


The comprehensive curriculum includes multi-modal (narrative, documentary, and experimental) workshop-style courses in cinematography, screenwriting, editing, sound design, producing, and directing, as well as courses in cinema history, analysis, and aesthetics. 

Each student develops technical expertise and a creative voice by:

  • Directing three short films.
  • Collaborating on projects directed by peers.
  • Developing filmmaking skills in specialized classes.

Students gain additional practical experience through internships or other applied-learning projects tailored to their interest in some aspect of motion picture production, exhibition, distribution, or education.

Year 1:

  • FST 500 Introduction to Film Study and Production
  • FST 531 Editing
  • FST 535 Cinematography
  • FST 536 Sound Recording and Design
  • FST 553 Directing the Experimental Film
  • FST 529 Entrepreneurs in the Industry (may be taken anytime)

Summer 1:

  • FST 558 Film Project 1. Students direct and edit a short film in the mode of their choice: narrative, documentary, or experimental.
  • FST 598 Applied Learning (may be taken anytime beginning summer of year 1)

Year 2:

  • FST 510 Screenwriting
  • FST 551 Directing the Narrative Film
  • FST 537 Producing
  • FST 552 Directing the Documentary Film
  • Graduate Critical Studies Elective
  • Film Production Elective  

Summer 2:

  • FST 559 Film Project 2. Students direct and edit a short film in the mode of their choice. 

Year 3:

  • Graduate Critical Studies Elective
  • Graduate Course Elective
  • FST 594 Thesis Film Pre-production
  • FST 599 Thesis Film

 For more program and course information, visit the UNCW Graduate Catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions


When do classes start?

Students accepted in this year's application process will begin classes in August 2021.

How do I apply?

Applications for Fall 2021 are open. The application deadline is February 15, 2021. Review the application information below before you apply. When you're ready, the application is available HERE. Select "Apply to a Graduate Program".

Who should apply to the MFA in Filmmaking?

The MFA serves established and aspiring filmmakers seeking to develop their artistic, technical, and professional filmmaking skills in a variety of modes and roles. It furthermore offers a practical education in motion-picture production for professionals in related areas, such as interactive media, advertising, journalism, gaming, and publishing. Finally, it provides a terminal degree to those seeking teaching positions, especially at the college level. 

What are the application requirements?

  1. A Statement of Purpose that articulates the goals the candidate would like to pursue in the M.F.A. program. The Statement of Purpose must also include links to creative film or video work uploaded to Vimeo.com, and a description of the work that includes your role in each project, and the date each project was completed.
  2. A sample of creative film or video work. You may submit multiple samples of creative work, but the total running time of all samples must be at least 5 minutes and no more than 20 minutes. All creative work samples must be uploaded to Vimeo.com, with links and descriptions included in the Statement of Purpose. More information about Vimeo.com is available HERE
  3. Work in other media (i.e. still photographs, audio projects or a written script) may be submitted, but at least one example of filmmaking work is required. The application for graduate admission allows up to three uploads of work in other media, each with a maximum size of 20mb.
  4. An example of academic writing. This may be a anything that you’ve written for a class. There is no page limit; we recommend something at least 5-10 pages long.
  5. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
  6. Three letters of recommendation
  7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  8. An application for graduate admission.

Submission of the materials above does not guarantee admission to the MFA program. All application materials must be received by the published deadline. 

All interested applicants will be considered for graduate assistantships, tuition remittances, and financial aid.

Can I apply even if I didn’t major in film in college?

Yes. Applicants from any discipline may apply. 

How many new students will be admitted to the program?

The department admits up to 12 qualified students each year, for a total of approximately 36 students in the MFA program at one time.

What is the average number of students per class?

Most MFA classes enroll 12 students. Elective classes may have up to 16 students. FST 500 Introduction to Film Study and Production enrolls 12 MFA students and 12 students in the MA in Film Studies.

What are the degree requirements?

The MFA consists of 61 credit hours. You may find the full degree requirements in the UNCW graduate catalog.

What is the cost of the program?

The estimated annual cost (tuition and fees) for the MFA in Filmmaking is significantly lower than the tuition charged by other comparable MFA filmmaking programs. UNCW MFA in Filmmaking applicants are eligible for graduate teaching assistantships, residency waivers, scholarships, and production budget support. Current UNCW graduate tuition rates are available at the UNCW Student Accounts & Cashier Office

What teaching opportunities are available?

The department offers a limited number of paid Graduate Teaching Assistantships to qualified applicants. GTAships involve intensive training in film studies teaching, under the mentorship of department faculty, and GTAs teach a variety of courses over three years.

What is the difference between UNCW’s MA in Film Studies and its MFA in Filmmaking?

The two degree programs are integrated, and students from each program work together in classes and on other projects (such as film productions, conference and festival planning, and other hands-on activities); however, the programs have different focuses and timeframes. The MA in Film Studies is a two-year program focusing on the critical study of cinema, although it also involves a production component. The MFA in Filmmaking is a three-year program focusing on film production, although it also involves a critical studies component.

Can I earn an MA in Film Studies and an MFA in Filmmaking at the same time?

The Department of Film Studies is currently proposing a joint degree plan that would allow students to complete both programs simultaneously and, at the end of four years, earn both an MA and an MFA degree. Students interested in pursuing both degrees are encouraged to contact MFA Coordinator Dave Monahan at monahand@uncw.edu

How can I visit the Film Studies Department?

To schedule a tour of our facilities, call 910-962-7502.

Take a virtual campus walking tour at https://uncw.edu/admissions/virtualtour.html

Visit the UNCW admissions website to register for a campus tour. Directions to the UNCW Film Studies Department:  Interactive and printable campus maps and directions.

 

The Faculty


The MFA in Filmmaking program enables students to match their interests with faculty mentors offering a wide range of experience and expertise. The filmmaking faculty write, direct, shoot, and edit award-winning narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated films. The program is also home to film scholars who publish on a broad range of topics in film history, film aesthetics, and international cinemas. 

UNCW’s MFA in Filmmaking and MA in Film Study will be welcoming new faculty as the programs grow.

Visit the  UNCW Film Studies faculty page to learn more about the scholars and filmmakers who serve the MFA in Filmmaking programs »

Equipment


MFA in Filmmaking assignments and projects are shot on professional-standard digital and celluloid cameras. Narrative camera packages are equipped with high quality prime lens sets, follow focus, matte box, and fluid head tripods. 

All UNCW MFA students are provided a subscription license to the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, and InDesign. Post Production labs are equipped with iMac Pro computers loaded with the software listed above, as well as Pro Tools, Movie Magic, Final Cut Pro, Izotope RX, Red Giant, and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve.

A current list of equipment available to UNCW filmmaking students is available here. Additional cameras, lenses, lights, accessories, audio equipment, and grip equipment will be purchased prior to the program start date.

Facilities


Front Office Facilities for the Department include:

  • Black Box Studio with set, lighting grid, and company power box.
  • Equipment room with a full range of camera, lighting, grip, sound recording, field mixing, and field monitor equipment. 
  • Sound isolation booth/audio recording station.
  • Post-production lab equipped with the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Pro Tools,Final Cut Pro, Movie Magic, Izotope RX, Red Giant, and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve software.
  • 175-seat high-definition digital movie theater with surround sound, as well as both 16mm and 3-D projection.

Back Lot Facilities for the Department, scheduled to open Fall 2020, include:

FST New Building Construction

  • 4000 square foot sound stage with set, lighting grid, cyclorama and company power box.
  • Expanded equipment room with loading dock.
  • Sound recording and mixing studio.
  • Post-production lab equipped with the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, Movie Magic, Izotope RX, Red Giant, and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve software.
  • Graduate editing lab equipped with the software described above.
  • 70-seat theater with 4K digital projection, 16mm film projection, and 7.1 surround sound. 
  • Outdoor screening and activity area.

Film Culture & Community


Wilmington is an established and thriving film community, home to EUE/Screen Gems studios, the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, the non-profit documentary organization Working Films, multiple production companies, and the acclaimed Cucalorus Film Festival. The city also features an excellent art museum, a historic downtown, and some of the nicest beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

UNCW’s undergraduate Film Studies program enrolls 280 majors who make movies, edit an internationally distributed film journal, and produce an annual film festival and conference. Undergraduate film students are encouraged to contribute as crew on MFA film projects.

UNCW offers additional opportunities for study and collaboration, including a highly ranked MFA in Creative Writing program, 24 Masters programs, and undergraduate degree programs in Studio Art, Digital Arts, Music, and Theatre.

Application Information

Applications for Fall 2021 are open. The application deadline is February 15, 2021. Review the application information below before you apply. When you're ready, the application is available HERE. Select "Apply to a Graduate Program".

Application Requirements

  1. A Statement of Purpose that articulates the goals the candidate would like to pursue in the M.F.A. program. The Statement of Purpose must also include links to creative film or video work uploaded to Vimeo.com, and a description of the work that includes your role in each project, and the date each project was completed.
  2. A sample of creative film or video work. You may submit multiple samples of creative work, but the total running time of all samples must be at least 5 minutes and no more than 20 minutes. All creative work samples must be uploaded to Vimeo.com, with links and descriptions included in the Statement of Purpose. More information about Vimeo.com is available HERE
  3. Work in other media (i.e. still photographs, audio projects or a written script) may be submitted, but at least one example of filmmaking work is required. The application for graduate admission allows up to three uploads of work in other media, each with a maximum size of 20mb.
  4. An example of academic writing. This may be a anything that you’ve written for a class. There is no page limit; we recommend something at least 5-10 pages long.
  5. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
  6. Three letters of recommendation
  7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  8. An application for graduate admission.

Submission of the materials above does not guarantee admission to the MFA program. All application materials must be received by the published deadline. 

All interested applicants will be considered for graduate assistantships, tuition remittances, and financial aid.